Two more men charged in young girl abuse probe

 

Two more men have been charged in connection with an investigation into the exploitation of young girls, police said tonight.

The pair, aged 31 and 24 and who have not been named by police, were arrested in March as part of the largescale inquiry into the abuse of girls aged between 11 and 16 in Oxford.

The 24-year-old, from the Oxford area, has now been charged with one count of conspiracy to rape a girl under 14, two counts of rape and one count of sexual activity with a child.

The other man charged is accused of two counts of conspiracy to rape a girl under the age of 16 and two counts of rape, Thames Valley Police said.

Both men have been remanded in custody and will appear at a magistrates' court tomorrow morning, a statement from the force said.

A police spokesman said a total of eight men have now been charged in connection with the inquiry, codenamed Operation Bullfinch.

The offences include rape, conspiring to rape a child, arranging child prostitution and trafficking.

The charges follow a joint investigation by police and Oxfordshire County Council's children, education and families department.

The police statement said tonight: "Thames Valley Police, together with Thames and Chiltern CPS, can confirm that two men have been charged in connection with Operation Bullfinch, an investigation into child exploitation in Oxford.

"The men have been remanded in custody and will attend magistrates' court tomorrow morning.

"The men, who are aged 31 and 24, are from the Oxford area, and were arrested on March 22 as part of Operation Bullfinch, which is an investigation into child exploitation of girls aged between the ages of 11- and 16-years-old in Oxford."

Officers started their investigation after a number of girls, many of whom were "known" to children's services, were reported missing.

In March, more than 100 officers took part in raids as police executed warrants across Oxford.

Police chiefs posted a video on YouTube to reassure community members and urge any potential victims to come forward.

Amid fears more children may be involved, patrols of officers took to the streets of the university city to hand out public awareness leaflets.

PA

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